Thursday, September 1, 2011


Helvetica DVD Cover

When I go to concerts I get the craving to go home, play my guitar and write songs. When I watch design documentaries, I get the same passion, except to design. I re-watched the documentary "Helvetica" last night, and all I wanted to do was get on the computer and design. I love the points made about how life is viewed through the eyes of a designer.

It was Tobias Frere-Jones' (Designer of the Gotham typeface, famously used by President Obama in his campaign) quote that said it all:

My fiancé and I were trying to remember the location of a restaurant in our neighborhood and she remembered it as the new place just a couple blocks down from the drycleaner. I remembered it as that new place just a couple blocks down from that place with bad letter spacing out front.

That is exactly how I look at design and typography. I over-analyze and notice everything that non-designer's probably don't consciously think twice about, which sometimes causes me grief along with a headache. I think this is a main reason I love nature. Everything is just as it should be--the colors; the textures; the mood; the medium--perfect. There is no clip art, wacky fonts or bad letter spacing. Humans are responsible for that junk, and it is a designer's responsibility to clean it up.

Helvetica Quotes:
David Carson: Don't confuse legibility with communication. Just because something is legible doesn't mean it communicates and, more importantly, doesn't mean it communicates the right thing.
Erik Spiekermann: Most people who use Helvetica, use it because it's ubiquitous. It's like going to McDonald's instead of thinking about food. Because it's there, it's on every street corner, so let's eat crap because it's on the corner.

David Carson: It's very hard to do the more subjective, interpretative stuff well. I can teach anyone from the street how to design a reasonable business card, newsletter, but if I bring the same group of the street in and play a CD and say, OK, let's interpret that music for a cover, well, 9 out of 10 people will be lost, and they're gonna do something really corny and expected, and one person's gonna do something amazing because that music spoke to them and it sent them in some direction where nobody else could go, and that's the area for me where it gets more interesting and exciting, and... more emotional, and that's where the best work comes from.

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